Region 10 road safety body tackling ‘back roads’


THE REGION 10 Road Safety Association has embarked on a project to rehabilitate roadways that are commonly called ‘back roads’, which were initially used by lumber trucks and heavy duty machines.The association on Sunday commenced rehabilitation of the Fair’s Rust backroad that was initially used by the lumber trucks but has been in a deplorable state for a while, causing heavy-duty trucks to begin using the main access road of the community, where two schools and the Linden Hospital Complex are located.

This has been deemed unsafe by the road safety association, and efforts have been made to have the backroad repaired so that it can be used for its initial purpose.

Coretta Braithwaite-Walton, treasurer of the association, told this publication that the members had embarked on this initiative as it was dangerous for the trucks, on a daily basis, to be traversing the same roadways as school children, especially during peak times. She said that the school children, in fear of the trucks, might end up running in the wrong direction.

With a build-up of traffic at the hospital, the situation was also deemed unsafe and needed urgent attention. “This was the initial road that they used to use, but because of the deplorable state of the road, they stopped using it; but we are encouraging them to come back (to using this road), as our mandate is to look after the road for the safety of the residents of Linden and the country at large,” she posited.

The association acknowledged the willing support of members of the corporate community, such as Forrester & Sons Equipment Rental and Transportation System, as well as Bosai Minerals Incorporated.

The treasurer said that stringent measures would be enacted to ensure that the trucks use the backroad for the purpose specified. “We will enforce the signs and the bars on the front road, which will hinder them from using it. The police will also be involved, and any heavy duty truck seen using that front road will be charged.”

Community Development Council Leader of Fair’s Rust, Wainwright Betune, says that this initiative will benefit the residents in the community tremendously, not only as it relates to road safety, but with their health, as there has been a buildup of dust because of the heavy duty trucks.

“This was an initiative that was there before, and we are happy that the road safety people came aboard, because those big trucks took over the entire width of the road and there was an unwarranted buildup of traffic,” he posited.

President of the Association, Antonio Hackett, told this publication that discussions are currently on to reinstitute a toll system on the roadways that the trucks traverse, and to have the funds garnered from that tolling system to be used for the maintenance of the roads. In the interim, however, he shared similar sentiments as the treasurer and said that it is of paramount importance to take care of the safety of the children.

He is urging other members of the corporate community to come on board and contribute to these projects. “Road safety is everybody’s business, and every one of us has to be involved. And we want to thank those who came out today to contribute to this project,” he said.

Despite Linden recording low road fatality figures, the Association is concerned with the number of minor accidents that occur in the region, and efforts will be made to sensitize the public, especially drivers, on how they can use the roadways safely.

Mr. Hackett revealed that school patrols would be reactivated, and he is urging drivers to give these patrols due regard. “We are asking drivers to give these patrols heed, as they are there for a purpose and should be respected,” he said.

The road safety body, at a standstill in 2015, has been active for this year, and is urging residents to join the Association, as the members are few, so as to contribute in whatever way in the fight to make the roads safer. For 2016, there has already been one fatality, and the association is working assiduously to keep the statistics minimal.